‘Wine is an emotional choice – mood, food, company, occasion, favoured producer, age…’ says Philip Evins, Bailli Délégué of the Chaine des Rôtisseurs and wine connaisseur.  

To answer all of these requirements, the home wine cellar must be easily accessible and also stock a number of different wines. An interior designer along with a wine specialist company or consultant can advise on what would fit your design and wine requirements and wishes but here are some important design considerations for you to think of.

The most important environmental conditions for any wine cellar are: it needs to be cool, it needs to be dark, it needs to be vibration free and not have too dry an atmosphere. Think constant humidity and temperature for an optimum wine space. So any materials used for this environment in its decoration will need to be able to withstand this type of environment.

In design terms you have to ask yourself whether you want to take visitors into the cellar or will it be used purely as a functional space to store wine. This is important as it will determine the time, space and ultimately the budget spent on the wine cellar. If you want to entertain then the interior design is important whilst if it is purely for you then perhaps this might not be as important.

So what spaces have you available in your home? Are you able to dig down or do you already have a cellar in your house? Would you be able to dedicate a spare room exclusively to your new cellar?

Having a home wine cellar does not mean digging deep only. Philip Evins has used a spare room as his cellar. It is near the kitchen and it means it is easily accessible and he can use it to store other provisions too. The room has had to have some changes to ensure the environmental requirements are met, but this a functional room which allows Philip to indulge in stocking ready-to-drink wines as well as wines that need time to mature. Philip was not particularly worried about the “decor”. The room is totally insulated; walls, ceiling, floor, door and windows. This ensures the ambient temperature and humidity is constant and vibration free. Wine ages quickly when temperatures are high. He has air conditioning too; again this ensures it keeps a constant even environment for his wines to thrive in. Temperature is set at an even 13 degrees. Philip has several thousand bottles in his cellar – as President of the Winchester Wine Appreciation Society, wine is his passion. This type of set-up can cost anything upwards of £8-10k with racking.

If you don’t have spare space, wine cooler units can more than accommodate most start-up collections. From 30 bottles to 300 bottles, Gaggenau has some good equipment available and they start at around £1300. These can be designed into a new kitchen easily, if this is a retrofit then look for free standing units. Good suppliers are Eurocave and Tastevin for the more utilitarian looks, whilst Gaggenau and Liebherr more decorative and would complement many kitchen designs.

The next step up in volume of bottles and therefore space layout and design, is a Spiral Cellar and costs from £12,500 for a mini fully installed cellar. This can come with a glass trapdoor straight into your dining room floor! It can hold from 1600 to 1900 bottles and looks rather spectacular. This definitely has the Wow factor especially if lit with LED’s.

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Spiral wine cellar

If you live in a period home which is listed, you will need to fill out a planning application for a spiral cellar, and this also applies if the spiral cellar will be within the bounds of the habitable space.

If you are fortunate enough to have a cellar then you will need to assess the dampness levels, the temperature and the environmental factors we discussed above. I would advise to consult a specialist in this.

The layout and design is all-important but just as important is the racking system you want to use to store your wines. If it is a space where you will entertain you might want to think about bespoke shelving such as these below designed by Yiangou Architects they specialise in the transformation of period properties into 21st century homes.

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 Bespoke wine cellar shelving in country house by Yiangou Architects

In this Ernest Gimson Arts & Crafts house in Gloucestershire, they have designed and built a beautiful and elegant home cellar, marrying natural stone walls with wooden cabinets and shelving as can be seen below. The cellar has a simple layout but is extremely well appointed – a space that is complementary to the house style and client’s tastes. A space where the owners can indulge in their love of wine and share this passion with guests, friends and family.

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 Entrance to home wine cellar by Yiangou Architects

A variety of wine racks can be seen on Wineware’s excellent website. From functional metal ones to more rustic terracotta modular systems the choice is vast and for any budget.

Once you have designed and built your home wine cellar, the next step is to fill it with wine! If you need any help or advice it is best to consult a professional in that field and Mr Philip Evins comes highly recommended.

Francoise Murat & Associates is a Garden, Landscape and Architectural interior design practice.

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